Welcome our New Intern

Gardening at a Glance:

Hi everyone, I’m Lydia Borrego. To give you some background about me, I’m a rising senior at Saint Mary’s College and am participating in the MICAH Fellowship. This internship involves interning at a nonprofit organization over the summer called Alameda Point Collaborative. I am working in the Ploughshares Nursery and am currently writing to you all from a desk surrounded by potted, citrus trees. Like those of you who know very little to ​nada ​about horticulture or those who have been discouraged by past gardening experiences, I am with you. So over the coming weeks, I will be sharing my thoughts, feelings, and experiences with you in the hopes that these posts will entertain you, or maybe get you interested in coming to check out the Nursery or gardening itself. At the very least, this will be a space to ask questions and a very basic, beginning guide to things I’ve come to learn about myself and gardening.

As a young person, I find myself questioning where to begin, in life and in gardening. I’ve come to realize over the past few days that gardening has everything to do with experience and making mistakes. The first day was filled with all things I had never done before. Jeff, my supervisor at the Nursery, showed me everything from the potted plum and apple trees that run along the fence to the inside of “what feels like a thousand degree” greenhouse in the back of the property. He introduced me to “Big Poppa”, his cat, and all 5 of his chickens. Then it was time to water. Jeff showed me that you should put the hose at the base of the plant. When it’s sunny, the water droplets act like a magnifying glass and the plant can get sunburned. Yes, plants can get sunburned! Jeff wisely said, “Is it sunny when it rains?” Within the first 15 minutes of being handed the hose, my shoes were soaked with water. And over the next two hours, I struggled to pull the hose around the nursery, to uncoil the kinks that stopped waterflow, and to remember what plants I had already watered and what plants I hadn’t. The epic fail of the day was when my hose stopped working. I began to frantically check everything. I went back over to the nozzle to check the pressure. I coiled and uncoiled the hose over and over again​, and still not a single drop of water. The entire time thinking to myself, ‘​Good Lord, Lydia. First day and you already broke something’. ​ So there I was, standing in the sun, feeling ridiculously inept, when I saw a little lever on the side of hose. I turned it and out came water. Later, I told Jeff the story and he laughed and told me that’s why people usually get training first before they start at a nursery. It made me feel better. Things aren’t supposed to come easily the first time or the second, especially with gardening. I need to stumble along and hopefully learn from my mistakes. I think I’m ​barely s​ tarting to understand that now; and by the end of the day, my soaked shoes were completely dry.